NHAI starts levying road tax in Kashmir

National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on Tuesday started levying taxes on the vehicles moving on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway at toll plaza set up at Charsoo, Kachachkot here in south Kashmir. 

Every vehicle passing through the toll plaza will be charged Rs 85. Therefore, Rs 170 will be charged per day on any vehicle moving to and fro on the highway.

“How can we pay Rs 170 per day when we are already inflicted with losses? If government will not revoke this order we will hit the streets,” said a sumo driver, showing a receipt of Rs 85 collected as toll by NHAI.

A medical representative Muhammad Yaseen of Budgam traveling to district hospital Anantnag said that he was surprised when he was stopped near the toll plaza and asked to pay Rs 85 before moving ahead.

“I don’t earn as much as what is being charged. If this order is not revoked I might lose my job because I can’t pay Rs 170 everyday to reach Anantnag” he said.

As the toll was made operational on Tuesday most of the people protested against it and refused to pay, leading to heavy traffic jams on the highway around the toll plaza.

An official said toll tax is not applicable for people living within the radius of 20 kilometers from the toll plaza but people questioned about those falling beyond the limits.

“I live here in Kadipora Anantnag ,30 kms, from toll plaza which means I fall beyond the limits. How can I pay Rs 170 everyday to reach my shop located in Awantipora,” said Abdul Rashid, a shopkeeper.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan told Greater Kashmir that from now onwards people living within 20 kilometers radius of toll plaza will be exempted.

Asked about those falling beyond limits, he said, deserving people will be issued a card and they would be exempted from the toll tax. “People should not worry because the new toll plaza will work like Nagrota toll plaza in Jammu,” said Khan.